Woolly Night Shade

July 2021 Update

How Are You?


This post has been so long in the making. It started off as a post about Fieldays, then it morphed into a post about removing some plants. Then it just sat there.

Here in NZ, it’s our winter. We aren’t growing giant pumpkins right now. (We start at the end of October)

Maybe I’ve had a bit of SAD lately.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Apparently is a type of depression that’s related to changes in the season.

Or maybe it is the winter blues, or I am tired? Lazy? Combination of stuff?

Whatever the case may be, I am coming out of it or hibernation and it’s time to get things back on track.

In this post I talk about:

  • Tiny patch 2.0
  • Time to Grow
  • Identify Pests
  • Fieldays
  • Weight Estimation Calculator

Time to Grow a Giant Pumpkin in New Zealand

I’m not sure what is going on exactly, but there are many people very excited to grow this season.

They are sourcing seeds and are raring to go.

Which is great to see. Like I said I’m not sure what is causing this, it seems really early compared to previous years.

When to Start Your Giant Pumpkins in New Zealand

Ideally you will want your pumpkin plant in the ground near the end of October.

There is no perfect date for this. The further south you go, the later you will want to do this. The key is to avoid any frosts that may cause damage to your seedling. Have protection.

If you are entering a competition, you can work backwards from the date and know when to plant. Therefore, it is important for organisers to post the dates as early as possible.

Identifying Plants

How good are you at identifying plants?

I have to admit; I know a couple. But could and should know more.

It’s an excellent skill to have, especially when you move into a new place. What looks like it might be OK might be something worse.

Our new place is better than the old place. And slightly better for giant pumpkin growing. I’ll talk about why in a future post.

Neighbourly Advice

We have a neighbour at the back of the new place. She likes to keep an eye on what’s going on, and I’ve interacted with her a couple of times now.

She asked if I knew what a plant was growing in a garden we have here. To be honest, I hadn’t really noticed it, even though it was now massive.

​​Turns out it was Woolly Nightshade. Quite an invasive species of plant, and one many councils aren’t keen on.

It must have had a huge growth spurt at some point.

It was time to rip it out.

Researching Harmful Plants

You don’t know what you don’t know.

I’m not sure at what point I would have tried to work out what this plant was if the neighbour had said nothing.

But it pays to check on what you have growing at your place.

Luckily there are books that help you identify plants, both good and bad. Check your library to see what they have. Or do some Googling.

Local council pages will have lists of pest plants as well.

Following Precautions

Pay attention to any cautions around pest plants. You don’t want to get sick from improper handling.

For this plant, I had no exposed skin and had a mask on.

While the plant was big and had grown from a small piece leftover from the last time they cut it down. I could easily rip the whole plant out of the ground.

And dispose of it via the garden waste bin.


What to Plant Instead

And what should I plant there instead?

I have no idea.

We planted some bulbs, and there are a couple of ferns in there currently.

I’m not much of a gardener, but should look into what else will fill out that area and make it look better. A job for another day.

Fieldays 2021

Fieldays, if you didn’t know, is the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere. Held about 15 mins away from where I live.


After having to be online only last year because of Covid it was good to see it was happening this year.

I head along to see if there is anything interesting that could help a giant pumpkin grower. Here are some posts from ASDF INSERT

What was Different This Year?

Probably because of COVID, some exhibitors had smaller stands than previous years.

While most of the normal big name players were there, few random smaller companies were. This means I saw nothing new or interesting.

Still a great event, just not as many opportunities to talk pumpkins with people.

Giant Pumpkin Weight Estimation Calculator

There is a great Facebook group called Back Yard Giant Pumpkin Growers which you should check out if you haven’t already.

And it was great to see people were using the weight estimation calculator I put on the website and sharing their estimates.

​You can find it HERE

It works both in metric and imperial, can show you a bunch of info all at once, and gives a neat brief summary you can easily post into a social media post, diary entry, or a spreadsheet.

It made me cheerful people were finding it useful.

Until Next Time

Hope everything is going well for you wherever and whatever you may be up to.

I’m going to sort more of Tiny Patch 2.0 out and will talk about that in upcoming blog posts, and if you’re lucky, I’ll bust out a video or two as well.

Thanks to everyone that has signed up to something, got a free download, used the weight estimation calculator or brought some seeds.


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